April 15, 2020
In Praise of Drug Dealersby Ballard Quass
replacing the modern barbaric treatment of so-called addicts with pharmacologically informed shamanism
Imagine a drug dealer: not just any drug dealer, but a drug dealer with a big heart, a thorough knowledge of all psychoactive plants and fungi, and free and unhindered access to every such substance in the world.
How do you think he (or she) would deal with my desire to get off of alcohol, or heroin - or worse yet, one of the modern brand-name anti-depressants, which, as Julie Holland points out, are often more difficult to quit than heroin.
Do you think this drug dealer would send me to a high-rent flophouse and plop me on a couch for three days of cold-turkey hell (in the case of heroin) or of three months of cold-turkey hell (in the case of antidepressants)?
Of course not. He or she would shun this barbaric pseudoscientific protocol and fight fire with fire. How? By prescribing drugs that shout "YOU ARE OK!" just as loudly (or louder) than my withdrawal symptoms will be shouting "YOU ARE DYING." I'm talking about substances which, in the proper setting which our hypothetical dealer will naturally provide, will give me a new appreciation of the world of nature that surrounds me, will give me new insights into my place in the cosmos, and will help me adopt mindsets hitherto unimaginable for me by dint of which I can buck up against the down sides of withdrawal and march on in spite of them.
This dealer might even do the scientifically unthinkable and creatively use his vast natural pharmacopeia to give me an occasional "high" for no reason at all - or rather for the exact same reason that most people drink alcohol these days: namely, to get a break from full-on "reality" and thus a health-inducing vacation from stress in general.
One thing you can be sure of: My "drug withdrawal" would not necessitate the continual retching and puking that our modern puritanical therapists consider to be the addict's due. Nor would it require my self-abasement in front of a crowd of fellow "addicts," where I'm encouraged to speculate-at-will on the hidden forces and motivations behind my fall from grace.
The best thing that a modern therapist can tell an addict is that there's light at the end of a tunnel, but our drug dealer knows better: he (or she) knows how to light up the tunnel itself and make one's journey through it both bearable and therapeutic.
It's not surprising then that the government has such antipathy toward drug dealers, to the point where Donald Trump even wants to execute them. The drug dealers are the ones who threaten to break modern science's puritanical stranglehold on mental health therapy by revealing that the emperor is wearing no clothes, that the bare-bones ministrations that pass as addiction therapy these days are at once barbaric and ineffective compared to what a pharmacologically savvy empath could provide. That's why the drug warrior feels compelled to keep psychoactive substances illegal, not for the benefit of addicts, but rather to ensure that the government and Big Pharma maintain their highly lucrative monopoly when it comes to treating them.
The Drug War Comic Book
On Sale here January 2021